Catch the Moments
Catch the moments as they fly and use them as you ought;
Happiness is sometimes shy and doesn't come when sought.
-- Robert Burns
The photographs on this page were taken in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, off
the northwest coast of Scotland.  The landscape of the Western Isles has been
variously described as stunning, dramatic, beautiful, wild, brooding, ancient or
.  haunting.  Some of these images give evidence to the truth of those descriptions.
My maternal grandmother, Ada Dawkins Garrett, died several years before I was born, so I met
her only through her letters and my mother's stories.  But, I feel as if I know her well, in fact, her
letters tell a story that I may not have even gleaned from knowing her later in her life.
My mom grew up in a rural community in southwest Mississippi, but as a young woman,
she left the quiet country home of her childhood for the bustling city of New Orleans, where
she settled down and lived out most of her life.  I get the impression, from reading between the
lines of my grandmother's letters, that the loss of my mother's companionship had been
something of a blow to her.
By that time, however, she must have been accustomed to loss, having experienced the deaths of
4 of her children, 2 in infancy, 1 in childhood and 1 who was in college.  These tragedies didn't
cause her to turn inward, in fact, quite the opposite.  They seem to have filled her loving heart
with compassion for those in need.  Always first to arrive at a neighbor's home in times of crisis,
the old country doctor in the community came to depend on her so much that, upon arriving at
a patient's home, his first question was always, "Is Mrs. Garrett here yet?"
She had a great deal of respect for contagious diseases, but, seemingly, no fear.  My mom had
memories of her mother coming home after days spent at a "sick house," watching her undress
outside and immediately deposit all the clothes she'd had with her into an outdoor tub of boiling
water to decontaminate them.  The most dreaded communicable diseases didn't stop her from
doing what she considered her unalterable duty to help a neighbor in need.
My Grandmother Garrett's favorite poem was "The House by the Side of the Road."  She often
recited it to her children.  I never come across it without thinking of her and thinking about how
well - how truly well - she caught and used the moments that were allotted to her.  -- Nancy
The House By the Side of the Road

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by -
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears -
Both parts of an infinite plan.
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
And the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And I weep with the strangers who moan,
I don't live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by -
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish ... and so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
-- Sam Walter Foss
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Music:  In the Morning Light

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